Hi there! My name is Jonathan, Hearthstone tag “Dunes”. I have been an AVID Hearthstone player since shortly after the “Naxxramas” expansion, and I have accumulated over 2500 wins over my Hearthstone career. I am primarily a Ranked player, however I do play quite a bit of Arena as well. Now that we’ve covered who I am, it’s time to dive into today’s topic: The rise and fall of Patron Warrior.
Warrior is considered by many to be one of the most under appreciated classes in Hearthstone, as well as one of the most difficult to master. Before the single player expansion “Black Rock Mountain”, Warrior as a class only had one deck archetype that was considered “Top Tier”, that deck being the infamous Control Warrior. With the “BRM” expansion, many new and exciting cards were introduced into the game. The most exciting card for Warrior was called the “Grim Patron”.
A neutral 5 mana cost card with 3 attack and 3 defense. With stats like that, a card would need to have an amazing upside, and Grim Patron does. The text on the card reads, “Whenever this minion survives damage, summon another Grim Patron.” This card, paired with the Warrior’s many self inflicting damage dealing spells, weapons, and minions, makes for a dangerous combo. Warrior was able to take the combo one step further by adding in a Warrior specific card, “Warsong Commander”,
which gives all minions with 3 attack or less “charge”, after they are summoned. To finish off the massive combo, Frothing Berserker can be played, to gain 1 attack for every minion that takes damage while it is on the board. It looks something like this:
Correctly played, this combination can lead to one turn kills, even if your opponent is at full health. Many professional Hearthstone players consider this deck to be the strongest deck in the game. Blizzard has been keeping a close watch on the current state of the game, both in Ranked and Arena. After careful assessment, Blizzard has determined that Patron Warrior was too powerful of a deck, so yesterday Blizzard announced a “Nerf” for the deck.
The card Warsong Commander will now read “All of your charge minions have +1 attack”. Simply changing the interaction between the Warsong Commander and the Patrons/Berserkers would have been sufficient. If the interaction was “Any minions with 3 or less attack have charge, any time a minion exceeds 3 attack, they lose charge”, the deck would not only still be good, but the only thing it would take away from the deck is it’s “one turn kill” ability.
Blizzard instantly killed the most powerful deck in the game, and it’s completely wrong. Here’s why: Combo decks require two things to be successful, 1. drawing the right cards and 2. knowing when and how to play your removal. This deck is a lot more complicated than people give it credit for, and in order to be truly successful with it, it requires a lot of skill and practice. Was the deck overpowered? Maybe. But in the right hands, there are MANY decks that are overpowered. Patron Warrior just happened to be the most popular, so it suffered the wrath of Blizzard’s always balancing hand. This is one of the flaws of Hearthstone. Being a virtual card game instead of a physical one, it is much easier for Blizzard to manage and control the state of the game. This can lead to massive amounts of frustration for players, especially serious ones. Hopefully in the future, Blizzard will be more conscious of the difficulty level of decks in the game, and that while some decks may seem overpowered, if they require enough skill, they should be allowed to remain.